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Archive for June 9th, 2021

It is high school graduation time again. The season of finals is upon us. Final classes, final assignments, final exams, final walks down the halls, final bells ringing in their ears.

Moms of grads don’t think of these endings, so much as the many beginnings in earlier years. The graduate’s birth, first steps, first days of kindergarten, grade one, first overnight away from home, first heartbreak, first performance (sport, arts etc.), first time behind the wheel, first day of high school.

I feel a bit like those moms.

I remember September of 2017. It was my first day in a new job, at a new high school. I was scheduled to start the day in a learning support class in another part of the school, along with my colleague. We walked in to a class of maybe six students, three in grade nine and three others … I really don’t remember them well. It was the ninth grade students who I remember, maybe because they were feeling all of the newness, stress and awkwardness that I was feeling.

Now they are graduating.

Working in learning support, I got to help these students to understand and complete their assignments, break them into smaller chunks, help them create a plan for completion, sometimes the job is to just sit in a seat, silently (or not so silently) and cheer them on.

But, I also got to hear about them, their lives, their families and friends, successes and struggles. There have been hours of research, and discussions, and paper-writing, and math problems, and laughter, and tears, and excitement, and discouragement shared together. I heard about their move to another house, the latest superhero movie, friend drama, fishing trips, first jobs, driving tests, vacations, pets, plans for the future.

And now they are graduating.

And more beginnings are ahead than what they have already experienced.

This class of 2021 is to experience yet another Covid graduation, filmed days ago, to be shown at a drive-in venue (in this particular high school). Nothing if not unique and memorable.

Because this grad class has experienced the past two years of high school while meandering through a pandemic, they have developed different skills and strengths than other grad classes. They have experienced forced group home school, followed by a final year with half-day classes, few field trips, post-phoned driving road tests, the wearing of masks (over mouth and nose (if I had a dime for every time I have made that reminder), no hugging of friends, eating lunch in a classroom, trying to sanitize your hands upon entering the school (while you are carrying books, lunch, a coffee and your car keys) and re-learning of hand washing skills.

Resilient … that is the word I think of when I think of these graduates. Often they have been more able to go with the flow than we ‘adults’ around them.

And if resilient is the word that signals the ending of high school, then it is also the word … the life-skill … that they take into their new beginnings.

When I think of this grad class of 2021, I think of 2 Corinthians 4:8-9:

“We are hard pressed on every side, 
but not crushed;
perplexed, 
but not in despair
persecuted, 
but not abandoned
struck down,
but not destroyed.”

May they know the One who can give them strength, may they seek Him, may they hold tight to the only One who will never leave them, never abandon them, wherever they go.

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